People tend to believe that the earlier generations were less advanced than later, more cultured, generations. We know that for Jews there is a concept of yeridas hadoros - a continuous decline in their spiritual level as they get further away from Matan Torah. However, with regard to Non-Jews, people think that their spiritual level hasn't changed, and if anything, they have only advanced as the generations have moved along. Moreover, some claim, Non-Jews had no knowledge of G-d before the introduction of the religions of Christianity and Islam. Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) opens our eyes to a number of incidents in the Torah that prove the exact opposite. The earlier generations believed in Hashem to an extent unmatched by later generations.
In Parshas Vayeira (Bereishis 20, 2-8) the Torah relates that King Avimelech took Sarah as a wife - believing that she was Avraham's sister. Hashem came to Avimelech in a dream and warned him lest he touch Avraham's wife. Avimelech rose early in the morning and recounted his dream to his servants who all trembled in fear after hearing what happened. The very fact that Avimelech merited having Hashem speak to him in a dream is proof that he was on an extremely high spiritual level. Additionally, it could only be the fear of Heaven that propelled the king out of bed in the morning and caused his servants to quake in fright.
In addition, Rashi in this week's parsha (Bereishis 16, 1) tells us that Sarah's maidservant, Hagar, was the daughter of Par'oh - the most powerful ruler in the entire world. After beholding the miracles that occurred to Sarah, he sent his daughter off to work as a maid for this extraordinary woman. He declared, "It is better that my daughter be a maidservant in this household than she be a mistress in any other household!" It is doubtful, to say the least, that in our day and age the President of the United States would send his daughter to work in the home of the Gadol Hador!
What caused Par'oh to make such a remarkable statement? The Torah recounts the amazing events that led up to Par'oh's declaration. Due to a famine in the land of Cana'an, Avraham traveled with his wife Sarah to Egypt - the land of plenty. Upon beholding Sarah's beauty, the Egyptians seized her for they felt she would be an appropriate wife for Par'oh. As a result, Hashem brought terrible afflictions upon Par'oh and his family. The Ramban explains that Par'oh contemplated the cause of his suffering until he came to the realization that it was due to the abduction of Sarah. Hence, he scolded Avraham, "Why didn't you tell me that she was your wife?" Par'oh fulfilled Chazal's dictum, "When one begins to suffer he should examine his actions [to determine the cause of his suffering]."
The Mashgiach adds that we are a little too lax in examining our actions. When one catches a cold or virus he immediately attributes it to some phenomenon. Instead he should take a few moments to reflect on what has happened: "Who caused this, and why did it happen?" A minute of introspection might reveal some action that should have been avoided. One can't know for sure if it was that, which was the cause of his suffering, but regardless, it will motivate him to improve in the future.